HMA v Thomas Conington

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 28 March 2019, Lord Pentland sentenced Thomas Conington to a term of imprisonment of 6 years and 8 months, after the offender pled guilty to a vicious assault on a fellow prisoner.

On sentencing, Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Thomas Conington, you have pled guilty to committing a vicious attack on a fellow prisoner. You had armed yourself with an improvised weapon and deliberately slashed the victim across his face with it. Whilst I acknowledge that there may have been some background behind this incident, this can in no way justify or excuse the deliberate nature of what you chose to do. Your victim, who is just 25 years of age, has been left with a disfiguring facial scar of 17 centimetres in length. This will be permanent. It is bound to have a devastating and lasting effect on him.

You have a deplorable record of previous offending; amongst many other offences, it includes a large number of convictions for offences of violence going back to 2006. I note, in particular, that in 2010 you were convicted on indictment of assault to permanent disfigurement. On that occasion a sentence of 20 months imprisonment was imposed. In 2014 you were sentenced to further terms of imprisonment for assault using a blunt object. You are currently subject to an order for lifelong restriction imposed by this Court in 2017. This was for a petrol bomb attack on a mosque in Edinburgh. It is clear to me that you are a violent and dangerous man, who has no respect for the law or the values of a civilised society.

I have taken account of all that has been said on your behalf this morning. You have been assessed as having an anti-social personality disorder with marked paranoid and borderline personality traits. I am told that you are now attempting to address your difficulties in the prison environment.

Having regard to the violent nature of the present offence and to your record of previous offending, there can be no doubt that the Court must take a serious view of this latest offence. You present a very serious danger to public safety.

Had I been sentencing you after trial, I would have imposed a sentence of 10 years imprisonment. In view of your guilty plea, tendered at an early stage of the present proceedings, I shall reduce this to a term of imprisonment of 6 years and 8 months.

I shall order, in terms of section 204B(2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, that the sentence I have imposed today should take effect on the day after the punishment part of your current sentence is due to expire."